When the new porn laws came in last December, criminalising the distribution of material depicting sex acts such as facesitting, female ejaculation, watersports and spanking or BDSM that leaves lasting marks, the first person I called was Myles Jackman. Over brunch, he provided invaluable advice regarding how I should proceed with my porn site Dreams of Spanking, which was strongly affected by the new legislation. Since then he has taken on responsibility for handling my Ofcom appeal, provided support countless times as a volunteer for Backlash, and been on the end of the phone during the most stressful periods of my investigation by ATVOD, the new UK video on demand regulator. Almost all of this support has been provided free of charge.
Myles is a tireless campaigner defending sexual liberty in the UK, and many individuals who have been charged with consensual adult pornography offences, or facing family or employment law issues on the basis of their sexual preferences have benefited from his pro bono legal advice. He has dedicated his career to challenging the legal framework through which sexual morality is constrained in the UK, and he specialises in privacy and freedom of expression issues, especially for members of the BDSM and queer communities, sex workers and people in the adult industry.
When I talk to someone about the AVMS guidelines, which control what content it is now legal to distribute online in the UK, their first question is always how on earth these regulations came to pass. Why is facesitting banned, but not gagging on cock? Why can UK video producers not show female ejaculation, but male ejaculation is permissible? Why are the guidelines weirdly specific on the details of a high number of niche activities only found within female domination porn - such as trampling, ballbusting, facesitting, scissoring, wrestling, urethral sounds, anal insertion and BDSM pain play - but no mention is made of countless other obscure fetishes?
After I describe these inconsistencies, the person I'm talking to usually makes a face as they try to imagine how such a bizarre list of banned acts could possibly be compiled. Perhaps they envisage a group of old white men sitting in a boardroom, listing all the fetishes they can think of on a whiteboard, deleting some and underlining others. Half the fetishes on the internet they have never heard of, so they don't get a mention. None of these old white men have ever made a woman squirt, so the consensus is that female ejaculation is a myth, and probably urine - better ban it. But perhaps some of them have guiltily visited a dominatrix or watched femdom porn, so those activities are on their radar - along with all the attendant anxiety of a repressed sexuality. It's potent stuff, they might think, but it's also clearly morally suspect. Best to remove the temptation and ban it all together.
Nimue Allen was the first to take her caning, and she tweeted photos of her welted bottom after 50 cold cane strokes on Friday... which just served to make me more nervous. Thanks to the generosity of our funders (said through gritted teeth!) I was due 50 strokes and Ariel 25 strokes. I kept on waking up last night and was had to give myself a stern talking-to to stop myself getting all strung out with nerves.
I'm still reeling from the news. Thanks to our 105 generous funders, we raised a whopping 3836 for Backlash, and the money was transferred to their account yesterday. I met with David last week and he tells me the cash will be invaluable for funding legal support for producers affected by the UK porn legislation (which might well include yours truly).
I want to extend a personal thank you to each and every person who supported our sponsored caning campaign - whether by donating, sharing the link or writing a newspaper article. I had no idea when I launched this campaign that it would turn into such a wild success, and it's heartening to learn how many people in the UK and worldwide support the stand we're taking against this unjust attempt to censor our freedom of expression.
Wow, what a week it's been! Thanks to you, the kinky Indiegogo campaign I launched with Nimue Allen has raised more than five times our original funding target to help fight UK porn censorship - and there's still 18 hours left.
The fundraiser is running until midnight tonight PST (that's 8am on Sunday for us Brits), so there's still time to donate. Every penny raised will be donated to Backlash to help fight the UK's regressive new porn laws. Please do contribute if you can!
Our sponsored caning fundraiser to fight against UK porn censorship has now raised 1400 - thank you so much to all who have donated so far! But we aren't stopping there. All proceeds raised (and I mean literally all - we aren't keeping a penny) will go to Backlash, who campaign against laws that restrict sexual freedom - and maintain a legal fund to help defend those prosecuted under such laws.
No UK fetish porn producer can afford an expensive court battle. We are all small independent businesses operated by solo kinksters or couples, working from home and barely making a living after the costs of running a website. Any producers affected by these regulations will desperately need Backlash's support - and it's up to us, the kinky community, to help ensure Backlash have the resources they need.
Encouraged by the amazing support we've received so far, we are continuing to promote the campaign and are adding new stretch goals. Every pound will help in the battle against the UK's draconian new censorship of consensual kinky porn.
You have all probably seen this already, but I haven't mentioned it here yet - on 12th December after the facesitting protest outside Parliament against the new UK porn laws, I was invited to debate the issue on Newsnight. This was my first proper TV appearance and it was a big deal for me.
I finally got round to making a video blog about the new UK porn censorship laws. The Audiovisual Media Services Regulations (AVMS) 2014 impose dramatic restrictions on the sort of online porn that can be published in the UK, disproportionately targeting fetish, queer and feminist porn with no reference to whether the content was ethically and consensually produced. These laws criminalise me and my site Dreams of Spanking, and put me and other independent UK porn producers in a very precarious position. If you want to know more detail about the laws, exactly what is restricted, and how they affect me, watch this.
I recorded this at 1am a week ago without notes, because I've talked about this damn issue so much in the last six weeks I no longer need a cribsheet. As a result it's a little longer than I wanted - I might make some bullet points and attempt a 5 minute version at some point. I sent it to Backlash UK before posting to check I wasn't saying anything glaringly inaccurate, and they replied with a few clarifications as follows:
When there's important stuff happening, there's usually not much time to write about it - and that's how things have been the last few weeks.
In December, what I was mostly writing about was the new UK porn laws that mean that I, along with countless other independent fetish and feminist porn producers in the UK, am now a criminal. There was a protest and a bunch of media coverage. I talked about the new laws on Channel 4 News. The petition collected a few thousand names, and then the signatures stopped coming in (If you haven't signed it yet, please do). Christmas happened. And now it's 2015, and I'm still a criminal, these regulations are still in place, they still haven't been debated in Parliament or been subject to any democratic scrutiny by elected officials. Many of my colleagues have signed their businesses over to international producers, and I have no idea whether that will be enough to save them. I'm still producing exactly the same material I always have, and the Sword of Damocles is still hanging over my head.
It's a new year, and now the best chance for me and every other producer affected by this is to join forces and support Backlash, the campaign group who are lobbying against these regulations - as well as defending freedom of sexual expression on many other fronts. The best way to support them, if you can, is by donating hard cash. They explain on their website:
One of the things I love about working with Nimue is that she always opens my mind to new kinks. She is, hands down, the most interestingly filthiest person I know, which given the company I keep is quite an accolade. I love her mind, her acceptance of the darkest facets of her kinky psyche, and the way her fetishes and play personas combine strength and vulnerability in such fascinating ways.
On our most recent shoot she wanted to shoot a scene that was new to me - a point of view humiliation scene with me providing instructions and verbal abuse from behind the camera. This wasn't something I would normally consider, but I always feel very open to new ideas when I'm working with Nimue. She showed me the props she'd brought - a cheap blonde wig, make-up, high heels - and we discussed what she wanted, particularly the language.
Nimue is one of the few people I know who fetishises abusive language relating to her size. "Piggy" is her pet name from her top, and she enjoys "fat pig" humiliation play that criticises her body. As a submissive, this is a huge no for me - just as food control and starvation is another hard limit, another thing Nimue enjoys toying with. I admire the strength of character in someone who can choose to reclaim fatphobic slurs as a form of kinky play, thereby stripping them of their real-world power to hurt. Nimue described the mentality to me as follows - "I know I'm fat, and I don't think there's anything wrong with that. Call me fat, and you aren't insulting me, just stating a fact." She is no more immune to insecurity about her looks than the rest of us, and it takes a real strength of mind to resist and subvert the body-shaming messages we are bombarded with in media and advertising by turning them on their head, and using them as tools for kinky head games of her own devising.